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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Planar Encounters Help

    I've foolishly pigeon-holed myself into having a goodish party head to Arborea (3.5) in their quest to destroy a very evil sword (In retrospect, pretty much any other plane would have been easier but I have little experience with non-Prime material planes). Now, I know the plot, and sorta of what I plan to work with the party on as big ideas, but I feel like describing Arborea and bringing to life the features of the plane are going to fall really flat for me.

    Has anyone done planar travel with well known planes (Arborea would be especially helpful) for ways to make the planes come to life and be really exciting? How do I clearly communicate a plane that is dedicated to freedom and goodness to the party? Even better, how could I cause some of the plane to conflict with party members? Most are goodish or chaotic-like (save for one monk and a terrorist druid we won't talk about), so how do I cause conflict when most will get along well with the plane?

    I was planning on having the plane bring out their inner honesty and break away lies they construct about themselves as possible to pass trials of sorts? Let their inner self be free and all that. I'd welcome other ideas, thoughts, etc.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Biggest thing to remember is this: Arborea, along with all the Outer Planes, is as much a philosophical point of view as it is a place. Arborea positively seethes with freedom, chaotic goodness is the lifeblood of the natives, and infuses everyone who visits.

    Get yourself into the ultimate mindset of Freedom, taken to it's extreme, and portray it in the natural world, in the natives speech and actions, and in their objectives. It infuses those who come, those who go, and if you're not careful, you might leave a little more free than you might want to.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Hazardous local wildlife? Not everything on a Good plane is going to be friendly to the party, after all. Though The Beastlands emphasises this more than Arborea- with dangerous creatures, some positively malevolent, being hunted regularly.

    Not all Good creatures are very nice, either, some can be petty or a little spiteful. Eladrin aren't all the same.
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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Arborea is full of eladrin, and they love to play pranks. Sour the PCs milk, steal their boots, have them fall asleep under one tree and wake up under another one, that sort of thing. Nobody but a kender could put up with that crap for an extended amount of time, Good or no Good.

    Naturally, Manual of the Planes and the Planar Handbook will be your biggest help here. Book of Exalted Deeds also has plenty of eladrin and even minor deities you can draw upon from Arborea.

    Finally, consider that you don't have to embark on a planar adventure to have your PCs experience another plane. A planar breach (PH) can bring part of an outer plane to special spots on the Material Plane - conveying many of the dangers and attractions with much less complexity. Rather than send your PCs off into Arborea, you can think about just bringing some of Arborea to them.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Edition?

    Play Planescape:Torment, not only is it one of the best games ever, but it really shows how to capture the "extraplanar" feel.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    To put the plane into perspective for you, on Arborea Malcolm Reynolds would be considered a sinister oppressive bureaucrat.

    Arborea, being a chaotic plane, has a lot of potential for amazing vistas that are completely illogical and (more importantly) aren't actively trying to kill the PCs. One of the locations could be a tropical garden inside a glacier palace floating in a lavafall pouring from a mountain of lightning into a valley of sandstorms, and the PCs have to convince the FIrre Eladrin who live in the lavafall to let them into the palace to access the sword, otherwise they will have to swim the lava without Firre guidance or magical protection.

    Let your imagination run wild. If you've ever had an interesting landscape idea that made no sense whatsoever, put it in here.
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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Bibliomancer View Post
    Arborea, being a chaotic plane, has a lot of potential for amazing vistas that are completely illogical and (more importantly) aren't actively trying to kill the PCs. One of the locations could be a tropical garden inside a glacier palace floating in a lavafall pouring from a mountain of lightning into a valley of sandstorms, and the PCs have to convince the FIrre Eladrin who live in the lavafall to let them into the palace to access the sword, otherwise they will have to swim the lava without Firre guidance or magical protection.

    Let your imagination run wild. If you've ever had an interesting landscape idea that made no sense whatsoever, put it in here.
    Keep in mind it's still Chaotic GOOD. Eladrin aren't likely to make the PCs swim in lava except as a joke, or if they think they might be evil.

    And the vistas are wild and beautiful, but not quite at Limbo levels of outlandish. Believe it or not, Arborea is only mildly Chaotic-aligned (compare to Limbo, which is strongly Chaotic.)

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    Keep in mind it's still Chaotic GOOD. Eladrin aren't likely to make the PCs swim in lava except as a joke, or if they think they might be evil.

    And the vistas are wild and beautiful, but not quite at Limbo levels of outlandish. Believe it or not, Arborea is only mildly Chaotic-aligned (compare to Limbo, which is strongly Chaotic.)
    Yeah, I agree here. Arborea isn't actually all that hazardous, environmentally. It's considered one of the more hospitable of the Outer Planes, if you can stand dealing with the Eladrin (and really, who can?).

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Have them meet a party of eladrin (or half-celestials, or celestial elves, whatever) that know of the sword and are after it themselves. But they plan to do something different with it and don't like what the pcs have in mind. So a sort of non-lethal (hopefully) competition to see who can get it first (and whether or not they can steal it if they lose).

    Have them encounter anarchic (but not celestial) dire animals.
    An invading band of baatezu.
    Another plane traveling party.
    Environmental challenges (rapids, storms, cliffs, whatever).

    It's not common knowledge, but each plane has cities of PHB races (in arborea, you might find a tree city of celestial elves for instance). Maybe the sword gets carried into the city and polymorphed into something else.

    You can do this.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tepmurt View Post
    How do I clearly communicate a plane that is dedicated to freedom and goodness to the party? Even better, how could I cause some of the plane to conflict with party members? Most are goodish or chaotic-like (save for one monk and a terrorist druid we won't talk about), so how do I cause conflict when most will get along well with the plane?
    Don't try to attack them, try to distract them.

    Look! Parties! Booze! Orgies! FREE CAKE!

    Maybe someone tries to steal the sword. Possibly because they recognize that it's eeeevil and they don't trust the PCs with it, or maybe just because it seems like a cool sword. Maybe they succeed in stealing it, if they're a good enough thief. Then the PCs have to track it down.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    The sword could be held in a trapped temple filled with constructs. It was placed there to keep watch on it until a way was found to safely destroy it. Now the temples owners are long dead and gone and the PCs have to get past the still active defenses. Perhaps the challenges would be designed to test their goodness somehow.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Bibliomancer's Avatar

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    Keep in mind it's still Chaotic GOOD. Eladrin aren't likely to make the PCs swim in lava except as a joke, or if they think they might be evil.
    Yes, it's chaotic good. The firre can't risk anyone who isn't good getting into the temple. They wouldn't make the PCs swim in lava, and may well try to dissuad them, but if the PCs don't earn their trust and try to get through the lava anyways after the firre nearly get killed trying to stop them, the firre probably won't save them from the lava.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    And the vistas are wild and beautiful, but not quite at Limbo levels of outlandish. Believe it or not, Arborea is only mildly Chaotic-aligned (compare to Limbo, which is strongly Chaotic.)
    True. However, although the above may be on the outside edge of absrudity, it's not at Limbo levels. After all, gravity still works and it doesn't get torn apart after three rounds, so it's not quite Limbo-esque. Keep in mind that the eladrin nobles, tulani, are immortal and have polymorph any object as a spell-like ability usable at will. They could and probably would create almost any environment that they wished, and the reason why the plane is only mildly chaotic is that they often leave their works in place for a year or two before creating something else.

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    Yeah, I agree here. Arborea isn't actually all that hazardous, environmentally. It's considered one of the more hospitable of the Outer Planes, if you can stand dealing with the Eladrin (and really, who can?).
    Quite true. They'd certainly be less frustrating than certain archons. However, even Arborea is more dangerous than most of the Material Plane. The difference is that the dangers are often majestic and stationary, and the locals can and do warn visitors about any exceptions.
    Last edited by Bibliomancer; 2010-03-15 at 09:44 PM.
    In Dungeons and Dragons, racism is frowned upon, unless you're playing an elf. Then it's an interesting character trait.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Where'd you cutters be if you didn't if have me apple-chasin' for ya's? A dead ends in the mazes, that's where.

    Planewalker: Arborea Articles
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Bibliomancer's Avatar

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tygre View Post
    Where'd you cutters be if you didn't if have me apple-chasin' for ya's? A dead ends in the mazes, that's where.

    Planewalker: Arborea Articles
    An interesting link. A few of the details in the Court of the Stars contradict the details in the Book of Exalted Deeds, though (Gwynarwhyf is the second consort of Morwel, not her daughter). Also, the classes listed seem to be in an unfamiliar format (are they 3.5 or something else?).

    If the players are visiting Arborea, an encounter with an eladrin court (EL 18+, non-hostile) might be interesting. Tulani eladrins (BoED, CR 18) posess, among other things, polymoprh any object as an at-will SLA, and could provide the PCs with many different types of magical support or information if given incentive to do so (possibly a side quest).
    In Dungeons and Dragons, racism is frowned upon, unless you're playing an elf. Then it's an interesting character trait.

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Bibliomancer View Post
    Yes, it's chaotic good. The firre can't risk anyone who isn't good getting into the temple. They wouldn't make the PCs swim in lava, and may well try to dissuad them, but if the PCs don't earn their trust and try to get through the lava anyways after the firre nearly get killed trying to stop them, the firre probably won't save them from the lava.
    You're acting like the Eladrin have to devise tests of goodness or something to measure the worthiness of the PCs and whatnot. Coures get Detect Evil and Detect Magic at will, Firre get Detect Thoughts. Firre also cast spells as as a 12th-level cleric with only 8HD. Really, there isn't a whole lot of reason to tell the PCs to take a dip in lava unless it's a prank of some kind. (The "lava" is really a river of warm milk under a Veil, or they've secretly buffed the PCs with fire immunity.) I'm not even sure Arborea has lava, at least not Corellon's parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bibliomancer View Post
    True. However, although the above may be on the outside edge of absrudity, it's not at Limbo levels. After all, gravity still works and it doesn't get torn apart after three rounds, so it's not quite Limbo-esque.
    Yes, that was my point. So "an interesting landscape idea that makes no sense whatsoever" would fit Limbo better. Arborea isn't crazy, just wild; there's an important difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bibliomancer View Post
    Keep in mind that the eladrin nobles, tulani, are immortal and have polymorph any object as a spell-like ability usable at will. They could and probably would create almost any environment that they wished, and the reason why the plane is only mildly chaotic is that they often leave their works in place for a year or two before creating something else.
    It's only mildly Chaotic because Corellon keeps it that way. He wants it to be hospitable, both for petitioners and travelers. Going completely nuts with the topography wouldn't be very conducive to peaceful rest.

    The weather on the other hand, is (almost) fair game.

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    You're acting like the Eladrin have to devise tests of goodness or something to measure the worthiness of the PCs and whatnot. Coures get Detect Evil and Detect Magic at will, Firre get Detect Thoughts. Firre also cast spells as as a 12th-level cleric with only 8HD. Really, there isn't a whole lot of reason to tell the PCs to take a dip in lava unless it's a prank of some kind. (The "lava" is really a river of warm milk under a Veil, or they've secretly buffed the PCs with fire immunity.) I'm not even sure Arborea has lava, at least not Corellon's parts.
    "Detect Alignment" spells often don't work on the Outer Planes because the entire Plane is suffused with the alignment of the Plane. In other words, everyone and everything on Arborea would detect as "chaotic good" - except maybe a Pit Fiend or secundus or other incredibly powerful exemplar.

    Even if that weren't the case, there might be a big difference between "Chaotic good" in alignment and "worthy" - the sort of thing you can only determine through a secret test of character.

    You're right on the lava point though, that's really not Arborea's style. Except maybe the wild untamed power of chaos exploding as a Volcano
    If RPG's have taught me anything, it's that all social and economic problems of the world can be solved through murder.

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    I'm sure Arborea would have volcanos. Hawaii volcanos, not Mordor volcanos.
    It has lightning and strong winds, why not plate techtonics?
    Volcanos.
    Last edited by Harperfan7; 2010-03-15 at 11:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeavelli View Post
    "Detect Alignment" spells often don't work on the Outer Planes because the entire Plane is suffused with the alignment of the Plane. In other words, everyone and everything on Arborea would detect as "chaotic good" - except maybe a Pit Fiend or secundus or other incredibly powerful exemplar.
    Do you have a source for that rule? I don't see it anywhere in MotP or the SRD.

    And even if it were true, Firre Eladrin get Detect Thoughts, which operates independently of alignment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeavelli View Post
    Even if that weren't the case, there might be a big difference between "Chaotic good" in alignment and "worthy" - the sort of thing you can only determine through a secret test of character.
    Test of character or not, a Firre is unlikely to have a fellow CG take a dip in lava, which is what I was objecting to.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    The Planar alignment thing is from the old 2nd edition Planescape rules, I don't think it transitioned into 3.5.

    I agree with you on the Lava bit :P.

    Nevertheless, I'm thinking some kind of Role-playing-heavy "test of character" bit might be in order, something heavily philosophical to fit in with the planar theme. I'm not at my most creative at the moment though, lemme mull over this a bit, or let the rest of the board come up with non-lava-bath-centered ideas.
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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeavelli View Post
    The Planar alignment thing is from the old 2nd edition Planescape rules, I don't think it transitioned into 3.5.
    That's a silly rule to carry over if you ask me. My Ur-Priest can waltz into Celestia, and nobody can tell he isn't LG because he isn't a fiend?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeavelli View Post
    I agree with you on the Lava bit :P.
    I know you do - my arguments weren't directed at you.

    Detect Thoughts can work to test character for anyone not expecting it. I'm reminded of the very first Harry Potter - anyone who wanted the Philosopher's Stone for greedy reasons would only be thinking of what they would be using it for, while only someone who wanted the stone to safeguard it would actually be thinking about the stone itself. The same principle applies here with the sword - though a disciplined evil mind could make the will save and circumvent this.

    Anyway, riddles seem a sufficiently chaotic and benign way to test people.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: Planar Encounters Help

    I could see faint and maybe even moderate Chaotic and Good auras being drowned out by the plane's "background noise", but it seems to me like Law and Evil should if anything stand out even more strongly against an environment of Chaotic Good. In that case, detect good wouldn't work so well in Arborea (except to let you know that you're on one of the Upper Planes by revealing that there's Good frickin' everywhere), and might outright fry the mind of an Evil character who used it in Elysium, but detect evil would function normally.

    Of course, if you're messing with how those spells work, you might want to change them so that e.g. the strength of an Evil aura actually indicates how Evil something is, instead of the way that they work in the PHB.
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